Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What-Cha, Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea

What-Cha Description:
An incredibly rare and unusual oolong with a great taste and aroma. Incredibly smooth, absolutely no detectable bitterness or astringency with a great taste of apricots and nectarine. 

Only 6 kilograms were produced in total this this year and we are delighted to have been able to secure 2 kilograms.

Sample provided by What-Cha Tea Redefined

My Review:
Recently I came across an interesting statement. It went something like this: Twenty years ago we counted on our phones for the internet. Today we count on the internet for our phones. I remember those early days of dial up like it was yesterday. Oh wait, I'm living them again today. Yeah, with only a few days left on this billing cycle I have once again exceeded my data limit. When that happens I get throttled to dial up speed. It is impossible to post pictures to the blog at the moment. It is not fun but I will attempt to persevere. With my son's help, and his cell data plan, I may be able to make today's post work.

Today's review is an oolong from Nepal. That is interesting in itself. Making this even more intriguing is the leaf is rolled into pearls. Oooh something new! They are larger than dragon pearls green tea and smaller than the black pearls from Teavivre. The pearls are an interesting mixture of browns, greens, and silvery white. Up close they appear almost leathery and almost furry. The pearls vary in size. I am not sure that can be easily discerned in the picture. The scent is sweet like honey, kind of malty, with touches of hay thrown in for good measure.

The label says to use 4-6 pearls per cup. Since I am using a mug, I chose to use 8 pearls. The water was heated to 185F (85C). I used my press for the 3 1/2 minute steep.

The pearls have only partially unfurled. What has loosened up is turning freshly green. The liquor is a slightly green tinted honey yellow. The aroma is pretty amazing. It really does have a strong apricot and nectarine scent.

To me the taste is much less fruit than expected. There is no hint of bitterness or astringency. It is wonderfully smooth. I always expect oolong to taste either strongly geranium or strongly roasted. This is completely neither. It has more in common with my idea of a white tea.

This starts with hints of stone fruit, followed by a mineral sweetness. It next turns to a peppery spiciness with hints of mushroom before trailing off into a sweet aftertaste.

The second mug was steeped slightly longer. The wet leaf has a neat spicy note that I think is sandalwood, though don't quote me on that one. It is mixed with fruit and vegetal notes.

While the second mug tastes much like the first, I find the stone fruit flavor to be more defined. To me it has hints of cucumber which may be why it reminds me of white tea. I also noticed how this feels when I breathe after sipping. It is strange. Though it is hot and thereby makes me feel warm and comfortable, it also has, not so much a cooling sensation, as more a refreshing quality. It is like a warm breeze on a hot summer day.

I very much enjoyed this different take on oolong. I feel certain it will steep again, but I am stopping here while my son is around to help add pictures so I can post... Well never mind, apparently I can't post until the 24th. The price of living far from civilization.

You can find What-Cha, Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea here.

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